Tonight when I left work I decided to walk for a while before I got in the subway. I headed down 3rd avenue, crossing busy 42nd Street, and I passed a man who dropped his glove. I noticed it out of the corner of my eye, enough to make me turn my head to see the full drop, but I was walking quickly and listening to a podcast and a few yards further when I fully realized the scene.

I didn't stop to tell him.

There had been a split second when I could have turned back, when he wouldn't have been lost in the sidewalk crowd. But I actively decided not to stop him. I'm not quite sure why.

I then spent the next 30 blocks thinking about this lack of movement on my part. I imagined how much the gloves had cost him, how disappointed he would be when he realized his loss. To tell the truth, I kind of beat myself up about it.

I felt like a bad human being. Like a bad New Yorker. And the worst part was that a part of me didn't care.


Yesterday I made a list in my head of all the things I could still end up being. Singer-songwriter. Doctor. Trader Joe's check-out person. Life Coach. Librarian. Director of Fun Programs at a Senior Citizen Center. Florist, farmer, writer, baker, tour guide, cross-stitcher, yoga instructor, B&B owner, actress, historian. Mom. Sommelier. Aunt. Giraffe trainer. 

The freedom to imagine that grand, sweeping changes could still occur in this life is one of my most precious needs. 


The part that kills me is that someone pointed out my dropped glove just last week. It was on the sidewalk outside our building when I was shuffling an iPhone, headphones, lunch bag and bag with laptop. I juggled, I dropped. And someone retrieved.

I couldn't be that person today for someone else. I had been a great many things to a great many people all day and I was a little worn out. I feel bad about it. 

But tomorrow is tomorrow and maybe I will aim to save a tiny bit of kindness for my evening. I won't spend it all during the day. I'll let it leak out in a steady stream, cautious of who and how I am when I get home. 

Tomorrow I'll do better.

1 comment:

yitznewton said...

I think I've had three dropped-item opportunities already this season. I blew the first when the guy darted out the train door, and my brain seized long enough to miss it. I got the last two :)